During the San Diego International Comic Con, the full cast and executive producers of Star Trek: Discovery were on hand to discuss season two (currently in production), the overarching themes of the series, the new challenges the crew will face, and what it’s like to restore one of the most popular sci-fi franchises for a whole new generation of fans.
There was plenty to be teased, deciphered and quoted during the panel and press conference, but here are five of the more intriguing details revealed by the Discovery cast!
1. Paul Stamets + Hugh Culber FOREVER
So wait… how are Dr. Culber and Lt. Comm. Stamets still a couple? What? Did we miss an episode? They may be in the 23rd century but no amount of reconstructive surgery can fix what Tyler did to the good doctor, right? Right???
We can tell you that there is a relationship to begin with, right? I’m here. [laughs] My neck feels fine! What I’m really excited about is the fact that the fans are going to have the experience they’re going to have in the episodes that we’ve already shot. I think we’re going to learn a lot more individually about these two men, and together. We’re going to go further into the deep end of this relationship and these characters. I’m hungry and ready for the opportunity!
I won’t go into the details of the whys and hows, but it really is inspired by real science that Paul Stamets, the real Paul Stamets uses. Who is a mycologist and what he has to say about the nature of mycelia and how it interacts with matter in the universe. … We take it to a certain fantastical… we extrapolated it into these areas but it’s really grounded. Some human beings are doing incredible work right now on how to make the world better through mycelia.
2. Growing and Learning While Boldly Going
Thanks to the final seconds of the first season and subsequent teasers, we know the U.S.S. Enterprise will make a brief appearance early in Discovery’s second season, commanded by Captain Christopher Pike. Anson Mount has assumed the responsibility of sitting in the big chair of Starfleet’s legendary vessel and for him, the importance of Pike’s place in the universe wasn’t overlooked. Nevertheless, Mount wants to create a figurehead that equally honors the history of the franchise while drawing new breath into the esteemed captain.
From an acting point of view, one of the hardest things, creatively about acting in television, is the establishment of character. You got to be very careful about the footprints you lay because they’re there for a very long time. When you’re starting a character, you’re doing this balancing act of laying down choices and exploring the character as you [the actor] and the writers learn more. They’re figuring it out as well.
My knowledge of the character is based on really what I know. What I know I try to be very clear about, and Pike was [Gene] Roddenberry’s original face of Starfleet. So I only knew there was a tremendous optimism to this person, and a good heart. I’ve made my stumbles here and there, and this lady [Sonequa Martin-Green] has propped me up here and there [laughs] But I’m really enjoying this character as a person.
3. Saru’s Excellent Adventure
While Doug Jones is renown for imbuing life in many outlandish and wondrous creatures throughout his career, and it is no different for the genteel Kelpian Commander Saru. Very little was discussed about this new species and only two (both played by Jones) were seen in season one. Yet it was strongly hinted by Jones that is will change during season two.
As far as Kelpians go, I’m the only one you’ve ever seen in this universe. But in the Mirror Universe, we’re dinner. [Wilson Cruz interjects, “And brunch!”] We peel back the onion, we do visit my home planet and we’re going to see Saru’s family. We’re going to find out where Saru comes from and how his family is, why do they fear, who is the predator… all these things come in play and I’m very excited to tell you about them but I can’t go all the way there right now!
4. Things Will Work Out, Eventually
For creator/producer/writer Alex Kurtzman learning what it entails to put together a Trek series has been a… discovery all on its own. (had to write it) Between the demands and inquiries of diehard Trekkers across social media and building a new corner in an old universe (most especially where exactly Discovery fits in the Prime timeline), Kurtzman affirmed fans and press alike that the show will cover how this particular – and seldom explored – timeframe in Trek lore will meld into canon.
We are constantly challenging ourselves in the writer’s room and how can we push really really hard against the edifice about what canon is without breaking it. That means things like the “what’s the spore drive?”, “why does Spock never mention his sister?”, these are huge questions. We will be synching up with canon, and we will be answering those questions. I think the key for us is to do it in a way both feels inevitable and totally surprising. Hopefully by the time you get to the end of the season you’ll understand why all those things haven’t been discussed.
5. War… What is it Good For? Maybe a Little Something.
As Specialist Michael Burnham, Sonequa Martin-Green covered plenty of ground in Discovery’s first season. Hell, in the first 40 minutes of the series’ existence, Burnham went from valued senior officer to mutineer and pariah, believed by many to be the instigator of a war that spanned light years and cost millions of lives. No doubt it was… is a mighty huge burden to bear.
Though the Klingon-Federation War may be over (for the moment) thanks to Burnham’s ingenuity and L’Rell’s strength, for this brief respite Martin-Green states that the crew of the Discovery will have time to breathe and reassess their lives while continuing to explore strange new worlds.
We’ve been talking a lot about how this season we’ll be exploring family dynamics as it relates to all of us. As it relates to who we are as a family, how we are as a family. Now that we deal with the aftermath of the war, now we have time and space to do that, within a place of security. A lot of that stuff is going to be unearthed, what was left. Now we have to sift through it, so that’s really exciting.
Season two of Star Trek Discovery will premiere on CBS All Access in early 2019.